Polls, Damn Polls, And Statistics

What, exactly, do all these presidential election forecasts do? And with just two weeks left, why are we still clicking them so compulsively?

Election forecasts are everywhere.

Even now, when every site puts Hillary Clinton well in the lead, trying to sort out what these projections actually mean can produce a high degree of WTFness.

As data reporters at BuzzFeed News, we are here to help.

The sites all say they are forecasting the election, but they have different methodologies and, at times, substantially different results.

However the different sites come up with these numbers, they all represent the odds that a candidate will win on Nov. 8, right?

One hundred times? But we’re only going to do this once. (Thank goodness!)

But we haven’t had many elections with big-league polling data. Can we be that confident?

Why have the forecasts changed so much over the course of the election, even week to week or day to day?

Another reason: Polls only capture a small slice of voters.

One more reason: $#!% happens.

Which means we'll all still keep pointlessly clicking "refresh" on those polling sites, right?

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